Contrast Kiva with, for example, UNICEF. Kiva makes it possible to trace the path of your donation, to the extent that such tracing is realistic (and it largely turns out to be more along the lines of "you funded a certain MFI" rather than "you funded a certain person"). UNICEF doesn't even seem to have a breakdown of how much money is going to each continent. We definitely can't find information on questions like (a) What specific projects are you funding? (b) What is your role in each? (c) What new projects are planned, and where? (d) How is each project going, whom is it affecting, and how?
There are no strange patterns in UNICEF's numbers because there are no numbers. There are no contradictions because there is no concrete information. And the intent here isn't to single out UNICEF - it's merely one of the vast majority of international aid organizations about which we know essentially nothing.
If you're not an Objectivist, you might consider adding The GiveWell Blog to your RSS.
Thanks for the link to the GiveWell blog. Pretty important stuff they're doing.
(Oh, and Happy Diwali, if you celebrate)